Time to protect citizens

This letter is in response to the guest editorials of Snohomish County Council members Barbara Cothern and Gary Nelson, which both appeared in the Dec. 2 Herald. I have spent many hours as a citizen writing and delivering testimony to the county council on numerous land use issues. It’s not easy. One must not only find the time to truly understand the issue, but also have enough flexibility to attend hearings and enough guts to get up and speak your mind. But, it’s worth it if the council listens.

From my experience, it is Barbara Cothern who listens most to the voice of citizens who are unencumbered with special interests. Gary Nelson seems to listen most to the needs of the development community. But I have seen some positive changes in the county over the last year or so. More and more Snohomish County residents are getting involved because they are angry and affected by the mistakes that have been made. Taxpayers are realizing that growth costs money, and that they are constantly being asked to subsidize growth with less and less benefits.

If Ms. Cothern and Mr. Nelson really believe that public participation is important, then it is time they not only listen to what has been said repeatedly to them by the residents of Snohomish County, but also to do something about it. Now is the time to raise mitigation fees for new development to help pay for needed roads, parks, drainage and schools. Now is the time to adopt interim building moratoriums in our urban growth areas until subarea planning is completed. Now is the time to question and overturn hearing examiner decisions that approve developments which are just plain bad and illegal. Now is the time for the development community to abandon slapping damage suits on citizens and the county when their development plan is rejected. This ends up costing all of us money and time, which can be better spent on finding and implementing real solutions.

And now is the time for all of us to get involved with the land use planning process and help the county council make the right decisions.

County Issues Chair

Pilchuck Audubon Society

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